LIVE: The Socceroos are facing New Zealand in a milestone match celebrating the centenary of the Australian men’s national team – and doubling as the final home game for coach Graham Arnold’s men ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The Socceroos lead 1-0 after Awer Mabil scored a long-range scorcher in the 33rd minute, beraking the deadlock after a hard-fought opening half-hour where both sides had opportunities despite struggling at times for fluency.
Follow the action in the live blog below!
MORE SOCCER NEWS
BURNING QUESTIONS: Teen’s crucial audition; answer to Rogic issue must be found
Two current stars named in epic Socceroos’ Team of the Century
Socceroos’ $10m deal amid Aussie football’s ‘unprecedented’ success
The Socceroos faced an early scare in the second minute when Trent Sainsbury played a poor ball out of defence, leading to Tim Payne shooting from range – but only at Mat Ryan.
And New Zealand should have opened the scoring in the 10th minute after a long ball from keeper Oli Sail caught Australia’s defense out. Australian centre-back Milos Degenek missed his headed attempt to clear the danger, with the ball falling for Andre De Jong who outmuscled Sainsbury to get one-on-one with Mat Ryan. But DeJong’s shot went narrowly wide of the right-hand upright.
Australia began to grow into the game offensively, and Jackson Irvine missed a golden chance as an Aaron Mooy corner fell at his feet in the 17th minute. But his attempt by him to place the ball into the bottom corner dribbled wide.
Corners began to mount for both sides, and Australia seemed to have opened the scoring in the 28th-minute when Jackson Irvine headed a Mooy corner goalwards, with Trent Sainsbury deflecting it over the line from close range. But Irvine was left fuming after the referee had already blew the whistle, claiming Irvine had dragged down defender Nando Pijnaker – though replays appeared to show Pijnaker simply slipped.
But their frustration was short-lived. In the 33rd minute, Jackson Irvine poached the ball in NZ’s half and quickly fed left-winger Awer Mabil, who stepped around a defender and thundered a long-range strike into the bottom corner.
Having shot wide from a similar range earlier in the game, he made no mistake this time around, scoring his eighth goal in 29 appearances for the Socceroos.
Socceroos vs New Zealand All Whites
Date: Thursday, 22 September 2022
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 8.00pm AEST
Follow the action in the live blog below! If you can’t see the blog, click here.
The Socceroos’ first ever match took place on June 17, 1922, losing 3-1 to New Zealand in Dunedin.
Following Thursday night’s clash in Brisbane, with kick-off set for 8pm AEST, the teams will travel to Auckland for a second match at Eden Park (1pm Sunday AEST).
This will be the first time the teams have met since a 3-0 win for Australia in Adelaide 11 years ago.
Overall, the teams have met 63 times, with the Socceroos winning 39 to New Zealand’s 13, with 11 games finishing in draws – and only two of them without goals.
“There’s no such thing as a friendly, Graham Arnold told Channel 10 before the game, “especially against New Zealand.”
New Zealand narrowly missed qualification for Qatar in a play-off, while the Socceroos beat Peru in a penalty shootout in their own play-off.
As part of the celebrations of the centenary of the Australian national men’s team, Football Australia announced a Socceroos’ Team of the Century – a squad which includes two current internationals in captain Mat Ryan and midfield maestro Aaron Mooy.
The ceremonial team, partially voted by legions of Socceroos fans, also featured 75-year-old Guus Hiddink as coach – the man who ended Australia’s 32-year World Cup exile back in 2006 and guided the Socceroos to the final 16.
Current Socceroos coach Graham Arnold was Hiddink’s assistant then – and was also named as an assistant in the Team of the Century – and this week reunited with his former mentor in Brisbane.
Hiddink was brought in to help out Arnold’s Socceroos in their final preparations for the World Cup, with Arnold’s regular assistant coach Rene Meulensteen in Europe to scout France and Denmark this international window – two opponents Australia will face in Group D in Qatar.
“Guus will drive some strong messages to the players, today and tonight, about what he’s achieved, and what it takes to achieve success at a World Cup,” Arnold said earlier this week.
Watch the world’s best footballers every week with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. LIVE coverage from Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Carabao Cup, EFL & SPFL. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Arnold has named a very strong starting XI for the clash, in an indication of his thinking on the side that will take on France, Denmark, and Tunisia in the Group Stage of the World Cup.
Captain Mat Ryan is in goals.
Veterans Milos Degenek and Trent Sainsbury start in the heart of defence, with Fran Karacic and Aziz Behich either side.
In midfield, Aaron Mooy, Jackson Irvine and Ajdin Hrustic look set to form a three-man triangle.
Up front, Adam Taggart will lead the line, with Awer Mabil on the left and Martin Boyle on the right.
Remarkably, it is Taggart’s first appearance for the Socceroos on home soil, with all of his 16 prior appearances away from home. It is also his first appearance of him for the green and gold since October 2021.
Arnold has named an unusually large 31-man squad for this final pair of fixtures, and is expected to name two very different starting XIs for each match. He hinted to media that he was planning on leaving ’10 or 11′ players out of the trip to NZ for the second match – likely overseas-based players, allowing them to travel back to their clubs early and prepare for their domestic competitions, which resume next weekend.
That means that those players are likely to be preferred for tonight’s clash, with Australian-based players set to get their moment in the sun on Sunday. The Australian A-Leagues Men’s competition has not yet started, meaning Arnold is under no pressure to return his players to their club immediately.
“On Sunday it’ll be young and new players…” Arnold told Channel 10 prior to the clash.
The squad is without Tom Rogic, who hasn’t played since his recent move to West Bromwich Albion, while recent Socceroos including Craig Goodwin, Nick D’Agostino and Jason Davidson were also omitted. Daniel Vukovic, Kenny Dougall, Gianni Stensness, and Callum Elder are also absent, as are centre-back duo Harry Souttar and Kye Rowles, both recovering from injury.
The squad features seven uncapped players, including 18-year-old breakout star Garang Kuol, who has played just a handful of matches off the bench for Central Coast Mariners but is currently being watched by a host of Europe’s top clubs.
The other uncapped players are Cameron Devlin, Jason Cummings, Ryan Strain, Harrison Delbridge, Tyrese Francois and Keanu Baccus.
Mitch Langerak; Andrew Redmayne; Matthew Ryan
Nathaniel Atkinson; Aziz Behich; Harrison Delbridge; Milos Degenek; Thomas Deng; Fran Karacic; Trent Sainsbury; Ryan Strain; BaileyWright; Joel King
Keanu Baccus; Cameron Devlin; Tyrese François; Ajdin Hrustic; Denis Genreau; Jackson Irvine; Riley McGree; Connor Metcalfe; Aaron Mooy
Jason Cummings; Martin Boyle; Garang Kuol; Mathew Leckie; Awer Mabil; Adam Taggart; Marco Tilio; Mitchell Duke; jamie maclaren